Woodmere native Harvey Milk, who went on to become one of the first openly gay people elected to public official in the United States in 1977, was once again remembered as California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared May 22 of this year Harvey Milk Day in the Golden State.
Dan White, who has been described as a “disgruntled former city supervisor,” in 1978, assassinated Milk, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and a human rights leader.
Born on May 22, 1930, Milk’s grandfather, Morris Milk, owned a department and assisted to organize the first synagogue in the community. Harvey graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1947.
After college, he enlisted in the navy in 1951. Both his parents served in that military branch. Milk was forced to resign four years later after officially being questioned about his sexual orientation.
He returned to New York and had a variety of jobs, including teaching in the public schools, stock analyst and a Broadway production associate. His interest in politics and public service grew in the 1960 and ’70s.
Milk moved to San Francisco in 1972 and began his advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. He highlighted discriminatory practices and policies for all marginalized communities. On the strength of that coalition, Milk gained the Board of Supervisors seat.
In 2019, Milk’s work was honored with having his face painted on the tailfin of what was then Norwegian Air’s newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner as of the airline’s “tailfin heroes” series. Along with the 20-foot high headshot, the inside bulkhead walls had captioned photos of the native Five Towner.
Newsom honored Milk’s purpose and character and praised his courageous commitment to equality and justice as Harvey Milk Day was celebrated on what would have been his 93 birthday.
“We cannot allow the forces of hate to dehumanize people and undermine our progress on hard-won civil rights,” Newsom said in a news release. “California stands firmly with the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for equality, freedom and acceptance for all.”